Organizations are implementing numerous changes each day and the bigger the change, the more challenging it is to implement. Most change initiatives are very well designed and planned for, but they fail to deliver the expected outcomes.

Creating successful change is not easy, but having the opportunity to learn from failed changes is critical to finding out why most changes do not work out.

According to the Prosci 2018 Edition of the Best Practices in Change Management, below are the top five obstacles to change management success:

  1. Lack of executive support and active sponsorship

Sponsorship has a big impact on the success of any change an organization is implementing. A sponsor who is supportive and actively visible during a change, demonstrates to the employees the level of importance of that particular change. In the same way that effective sponsorship can mobilize and activate the organization, poor sponsorship can inhibit and delay progress.

  1. Inadequate change management buy-in and resourcing

Change management is not an activity but rather a process that involves all employees in an organization. Many times change management is misunderstood and it is handed over to a single person to execute with minimal resources. Prosci’s Best Practices in Change Management research reports that indeed there is a strong correlation between effective resourcing for change management activities and meeting project objectives.

  1. Resistance and lack of support for the specific solution

Supporting employees to embrace and adopt the change is a key step in any successful change management initiative. This starts by providing the why of the change from the start and includes both the business reasons for the change and the “what’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) for each employee.

  1. Change-resistant culture and organizational structure

It is possible for an organization to attract a culture of resisting changes. This is brought majorly by a history of failed projects. Change happens on individual levels and to ensure successful change management, these individual transitions have to be managed effectively and in a friendly manner.

  1. Change Saturation and lack of prioritization

The volume of change projects an organization is handling at one time determines the level of importance and prioritization being done. An organization with a large number of intensive projects will saturate its employees and make it difficult for senior leaders to prioritize the changes and obtain the desired business results.


Significant and quantifiable costs are incurred when changes are poorly managed, at both the project and the organizational levels. In addition to the extra costs of fixing the people- issues that arise if we ignore change management from the start, the organization also fails to achieve the value it expected from the project. Change management is an effective cost avoidance technique we can apply on projects.

Costs to the ORGANIZATION if change is poorly managed:

  • Productivity plunges (deep and sustained)
  • Impact on customers
  • Impact on suppliers
  • Loss of valued employees
  • Morale declines
  • Decline in quality of work
  • Resistance (both active and passive)
  • Organization creates a history of failed changes
  • Stress, confusion, fatigue
  • Change saturation


Costs to the PROJECT if change is poorly managed:

  • Project delays
  • Missed milestones
  • Project put on hold
  • Resources not made available to project team
  • Budget overruns
  • Obstacles appear unexpectedly
  • Re-work required on project design
  • Project fails to deliver on objectives
  • Project is fully abandoned
  • Loss of work by project team